The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released a report recently that outlined the challenges and opportunities to improve energy productivity in the country’s mid-tier office building sector.

‘Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia: A national pathway to improving energy productivity’ presents a snapshot of up to 80,000 buildings around Australia, outlines key stakeholders, and identifies barriers and opportunities for improving energy efficiency.

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry Innovation and Science commissioned the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to undertake the project, with support from Sustainability Victoria, City of Melbourne and EY.

GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew said 23 per cent of their CBD office stock was now Green Star-rated, observing that the industry has been extremely effective at tackling the energy efficiency of premium and A-grade building stock. However, a large portion of the market has lagged behind due to a range of barriers, split incentives, lack of skills and expertise. 

Mid-tier buildings are commonly defined as the B, C and D-grade buildings, usually found in the capital city CBDs and fringe areas, suburban centres and some regional towns. Commercial buildings account for about 10 per cent of the nation’s overall energy consumption.

Launching the report at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in Melbourne, the GBCA’s Director of Advocacy Katy Dean said Australia had up to 52 million square metres of mid-tier building stock and improving the energy efficiency of these buildings would be one of the most cost-effective opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The pathway document includes a list of actions, including a Building Retrofit Toolkit, which will establish best practice in retrofits and tune-ups in mid-tier buildings; reviewing the scope of the current Commercial Buildings Disclosure program to encompass smaller office buildings; building a business case for energy efficiency upgrades; conducting further research to better understand the sector and its stakeholders; and establishing a sector network to increase collaboration, innovation and exchange.

‘Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia: A national pathway to improving energy productivity’ can be downloaded here.